Bittersweet—would that climate change were so easily solved.

SONG FOR THE SNOW

For the past two winters snow hasn’t come to Freya’s town. Will an old, forgotten song help to bring it back?

In language that is almost poetic, Lappano tells the story of Freya, who loved the way snow looked and felt, and how the air changed when snow was coming. It’s been two winters now since it last came, and Freya is afraid her memories of snow are fading. At the market with her father, “a soft, twinkling melody danced in Freya’s ears.” Following the sound, Freya finds a woman holding a snow-globe music box. She gifts Freya the globe and tells her it plays an old and special song. For generations, says the woman, the song was sung by the townspeople, and some believed it was “the magic of the song that called the snow home.” Back home, her mother remembers the words, but though Freya sings them over many days, the snow does not come. Eventually, she teaches the words to her friends, who take the song home, and soon “the song once again filled their homes and hearts.” And finally (and predictably), the snow comes. Eggenschwiler’s artwork matches the gentle and magical telling of the story with textural illustrations in a limited palette of soft colors. Freya, her family, and the woman present White; the townspeople are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Bittersweet—would that climate change were so easily solved. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77306-268-6

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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